At what point do we quit doing scripture memory in Sunday School?

Little kids do scripture memory all the time in Sunday School; at what age do we stop?

Too soon, I say.

At what age should we stop doing scripture memory in Sunday School? At what age do we graduate from this childish approach to learning?


If you want to create (spiritually speaking) meat-eating lions, if you want to create take-no-prisoners soldiers of the cross, if you want to create spiritual giants, if you want to create people who love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, if you want to create people who are being transformed by the gospel a little more each day, from one glory to the next, encourage people to memorize God’s word.

I know of no other spiritual discipline that will drive steel into the foundation of your soul like scripture memory.


Want to sin less than you do? Consider the promise of this verse:

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11 (NIV)

The word translated “hidden” in this passage is an old Hebrew word: mee-mo-rize.

Want to sin less than you do? Memorize God’s Word.


Want to worry less than you do? Memorize the first verse I ever memorized. From the Living:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (TLB)

You say you can’t memorize? Memorize it the way I did. Just read it about a thousand times and you will find that, walla! you have memorized it. You will also find you worry a little less than you did.


Want to beat off temptation?

Do it the way Jesus did–by memorizing God’s Word. This gets into a bit of the mystery of the incarnation, but how do you think Jesus knew to quote those verses in the desert? I think He memorized them. (I think Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture is one of the things He emptied Himself of (Philippians 2); otherwise, He wasn’t tempted in every way we were (Hebrews 4.15))

My wife and I have both recently stumbled into a renewed appreciation for the benefit of Scripture memory. We got here in different ways. She is going through Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and memorizing the verse of the day each day. I started bookmarking and memorizing key verses on my phone (What? You don’t have a Bible on your phone? Say it isn’t so!) Great thing about that is it is always with me. I find myself having to wait on this and that a lot. When I do, I pull out the phone and start meditating and memorizing. If you don’t have a phone with the Bible on it, you could, of course do it the old fashioned way–with little scripture memory cards. (Blank business cards you can get at Office Max or Staples work nicely.) But, for geeks, you gotta use a phone.


Want to see answer to prayer?

Consider this promise:

15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15:7 (NIV)

Notice the condition: “and my words remain in you.” The Greek word has the sense of, “to be at home in God’s word.” God’s Word needs to become as familiar as an old pair of slippers. It is a condition of answered prayer.


Want to be prosperous and successful in all that you do?

It is my experience that memorization and meditation go hand in hand. It is hard to do one without the other. In fact, I would say the point of memorizing is to meditate and the way to meditate is to memorize. If I am right about that, consider this promise:

1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV)

Want to prosper in whatever you do? Meditate day and night on God’s word. Want to have a group full of people who prosper in all they do? Teach your group to meditate on God’s word.


How to memorize in class: the 3 X 3 X 3 rule

Here is how to get your group memorizing in class. I call it the 3 X 3 X 3 rule. If you have been using online lessons, you are familiar with this rule and its variations. Here is how it works.

Select a verse to memorize. I wouldn’t necessarily do this every week, but I would do it often. I’d pick something somewhat short.

Have everyone say it three times out loud. That is the first three. For some of the people in your group, this is all it will take to memorize the verse. Some of these verses will be familiar to the group. In fact, I would say always memorize the most familiar verses in the passage. Some will have already memorized these verses.


Oh, one other thing: I would do this early in the class session, for reasons that are about to become clear.

Second three: have three individuals say it out loud. Get volunteers; don’t call on anyone unless you know you won’t embarrass them. This is the second three.


Repeat this three times during class. About every ten or fifteen minutes, say, “What was our verse again?”


3+ If you really want to nail it home, go over it each of the next three weeks.

If you are new to scripture memory, I recommend you start where I did, with the Navigators’ Topical Memory System. It includes 60 verses printed on little cards you can take with you. Plus, there is a lot of useful information in the packet as to how to memorize.